Magnolia man out of Malaysian jail after passport stamp glitch

MAGNOLIA, Texas (KTRK) -- A travel nightmare for a Magnolia man and his girlfriend all started because their passports weren't stamped at one point during their travels.

"It's a nightmare," Denise Lucas said.

Her 22-year-old son, Will, was to return home Wednesday night. Instead, he and his girlfriend were detained in Malaysia.

They were about to board a flight home last week when an immigration agent saw their passports did not have stamps showing that they entered the country.

Will and his girlfriend, Sam, had spent several weeks in Thailand volunteering at an orphanage, and went to Malaysia to help build a sustainability project.

"He's volunteered all his life," said his mother. "He was with Americorps and then Habitat for Humanity."

Denise was notified by Sam's father that he couldn't get the couple by phone, and airline records showed they had never boarded their flight home.

"Forty-three phone calls later, we learned they had been detained."

She was able to speak by phone with Will briefly on Wednesday. He called conditions in the detention area "deplorable."

"He told me that the border agent in Malaysia waved them through the line without stamping the passports," Denise said. "He said the agent was probably waiting for money. He said, 'Mom, I missed it.'"

Both Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Kevin Brady are assisting the family and working with the U.S. Embassy in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the Lucas family waits in Magnolia for Will's return.

"He did nothing wrong," his mother said. "They were there to help people. He has such a sweet spirit and I hate that this happened to him. But if he goes out of the country again, I'm going with him."

UPDATE: Will and Sim have been released from custody. The families hired a lawyer, and after a court meeting, the charges were dismissed. According to family members, Will and Sam are set to board a plane and arrive back in the U.S. late on Tuesday.

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